Planning a Thanksgiving menu can be overwhelming whether this is your first Thanksgiving or your twentieth. The time it takes to plan out a dinner depends on many variables. How many family members, friends and guests will be joining you?
What time will dinner be served? What traditions do you have or are you starting? Any food allergies? There are many more variables, some are more specific to our family, while others are more specific to your family.
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I know a few friends and friends of friends who have the Thanksgiving dinner catered. Personally, I love planning out Thanksgiving! I grew up in a household who made a big deal about the preparations. My mom would start days ahead finding old recipes and taking inventory of ingredients needed.
When I become a wife and mother, I used those same preparations my mother passed down to me and began planning my own Thanksgiving dinners. I enjoyed inviting Soldiers in my husband’s units who couldn’t make it home to their families for the holidays.
I wasn’t trying to fill the roles as their mothers or grandmothers, but my hope was to be a blessing and give them a little taste of home while they were away. I always took food to the guys who had duty on Thanksgiving.
Although the Dining Facilities went all out with their dinner preparations, there’s just something about a home cooked meal that makes a person feel great.
So what are my tips for planning a winning Thanksgiving meal?
1) Don’t wait until the last-minute! In my planner that you can download at the end of the post, you will find a schedule that will be very helpful. For us, Thanksgiving is about family and reflecting on what we have to be thankful for.
Planning ahead gives me a chance to be able to interact with my family and guests so that I can also enjoy the holiday. Also, I like to beat the crowds at the store and shop early. I cannot stand the crowds and picked over aisles that come with last-minute shopping. I also am notorious for shopping sales weeks ahead of time when I have coupons. 😉
2) Try to get a confirmed list of guests you have coming to join you. This was tricky for me when Clay was still active duty because we had an open door policy. One year, we invited his entire platoon of 74 Soldiers! All of them didn’t come for various reasons (i.e. took vacation to go home, had families of their own, already had plans, scheduled for duty, etc.).
Although we had a confirmed number of those who planned on showing up, we also never knew whose plans would fall through and end up walking through our door. So, I always planned for a lot of people! Don’t forget that part of planning a guest list includes making sure that you have enough dishes and eating utensils for everyone invited. Paper plates and plastic utensils go a long way!
3) Use our awesome Thanksgiving planner to make your shopping list. In addition to food, don’t forget to include any decorations, supplies and condiments that you may need.
4) Prep ahead as much as possible! This is especially helpful if you work full-time. While I don’t have a full-time job outside the home, homeschooling and raising three boys (four if you count my hubby) can keep a momma busy!
Not to mention the plethora of extracurricular activities my kids are involved in makes time management that much more important. I plan ahead and prep ahead when I can. Part of this is not forgetting to THAW OUT YOUR TURKEY! (Ask me how I know this is so important! HA!)
5) If you have kids coming to your dinner, planning out activities will eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress. A few simple outdoor games will keep little fingers out of the kitchen. If you need supplies for this, don’t forget to include them on your list!
6) If your guests ask to help in the kitchen, let them! Y’all, there is something so sweet about time with friends spent in the kitchen prepping food! Some of my best memories are spent talking about random memories while stirring a pot of mashed taters!
Also for more help…lets talk social media. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you would follow me on my social channels and subscribe to my blog! I won’t spam you to death- I promise/ I try to send out freebies, helps that I love, advice or deals.
I would love to have you follow me on my page here. Don’t forget my group too that I mentioned above! I have a few groups also. If you’re interested in the list, you can find that right here. I am on Pinterest…love love love Pinterest!
Also because this is an air fryer recipe….I have an air fryer group too! So don’t miss that!
Don’t forget to take a shower! Maybe put on some clothes, too. No, your apron doesn’t count! HA!
Relax, Reflect, and Be Thankful.
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I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Click here to get your free planner!